Vibrio cholerae is an important human pathogen and the cause of cholera. Since genetic variation and antibiotic resistance of strains have implications for effective treatment of the disease, we examined the genetic diversity and antibiotic resistance profile in 92 clinical strains (serogroup O1) and 56 environmental strains (O1 antigen, 42 strains; non-O1 antigen, 14 strains) isolated in Brazil between 1991 and 1999. Clinical and environmental O1 strains showed greater drug resistance compared to environmental non-O1 strains. Nearly all clinical O1 strains were resistant to one or more antibiotics while half of the environmental O1 and non-O1 strains were resistant to one or more antibiotics. No plasmids or class 1 integrons were detected in the strains by PCR analysis. Multilocus enzyme electrophoresis analysis (MLEE) suggests most of the O1 strains belong to a single (South American) clone that is related but different to seventh-pandemic strains isolated from other parts of the world. Our results show that there is a close genetic relationship between clinical and environmental O1 strains and that many serogroups and the environment can be a reservoir for antibiotic resistance.